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  • CLEAN UP THE WORLD 2014 (290814)

    Press Release re CUTW 2014

     A planning meeting for this years Clean up the World has taken place and arrangements are now firmly underway. A second meeting will be held on Tuesday 9th September at the John Mackintosh Hall at 7pm. It is a compulsory meeting for all team leaders.

    Joining us this year and adding international flavour will be I-CARE, from Brussels, with an exhibition on renewable energy and sustainable living, bringing a fleet of electric cars for various displays. The ESG is also working closely with the Gibraltar Heritage Trust.

    The Clean up action takes place on Saturday 20th September and it is important that volunteers register with the ESG well before as sites are allocated and teams equipped. Organisers of CUTW claim that in spite of the fact that many local hotspots have been tackled through the years of campaigning, littering persists, which mars and degrades our beautiful environment. “It is frustrating that the message is not getting through to a significant minority,” says key organiser, Janet Howitt, “We aim to highlight these prevailing problems once again via this public campaign, which we feel is important and necessary to do, but also recommend solutions and ways to improve this situation.”

    The ESG says the campaign will be calling for Litter Wardens and more priority to be given to enforcement, but also for positive signage encouraging the community to respect and look after our homeland. A year round radio and tv campaign, extended to all type of social media, would also reinforce this principle. A Keep Gibraltar Tidy campaign aimed at both locals and visitors is also necessary.

    The campaign also believes the present cleaning programmes must be stepped up and a sharper follow up to tackle problems as they appear is also necessary. “Gibraltar is our home therefore we want to see it respected. It is depressing when you see dog fouling, urine stained roads, and litter tossed about. Its not only bad for tourists,” says organiser Howitt who in spite of having run 9 years of Clean ups in Gibraltar, strongly believes we can and must achieve a litter free, clean environment. “We must find and apply solutions, to give up is not an option.”


    The ESG is equally concerned about the impact our plastic waste in particular has on the marine environment. The impact from micro-plastics on the food chain is well known, quite apart from the immediate danger posed to wildlife. Welcoming the netting enclosure finally erected at the main refuse depot at Europa Advance Road this year, the group states this will reduce the litter blown out of the quarry for years, into the cliffs and water environments. The steady increase in recycling facilities is also positive and it is hoped that commercial volumes of waste will also be handled before the end of 2014.


    Apart from the Parade and Clean up itself on Saturday 20th there will be a range of environmental events, workshops, and rallies from the 18th through to the end of the month and the community is invited to engage and support these. A detailed programme will be made available to the schools and public via local media.


    ESG Committee

    Organisers of Clean up the World Gibraltar

    Go to:      www.esg-gib.net   www.icare-green.eu

    ESG Radio Broadcast 28/08/14

    ESG Radio Broadcast:

    Key terms: Balloons – Nuclear Submarines – Bathing Water Quality – Bathing Pavilion – North Gorge – CUTW 2014

    • ON BALLOONS – Further to National Day and the release of thousands of environmentally damaging balloons to demonstrate our national pride in Gibraltar. The ESG reiterates its concerns about the impact of this practice also expressed by the Blue Planet and many of our citizens. The group does not suggest there should be no visual display, rather that alternatives should be found. Gibraltar wants to be seen as a responsible environmental player and releasing thousands of pieces of latex into the surrounding marine environment goes against that aspiration. The group urges Government to act quickly on this issue 
    • ON NUCLEAR SUBMARINES – The ESG would also like to reiterate its opposition to the berthing of nuclear submarines in Gibraltar. The recent increase in submarine visits has prompted a statement by our group which has always maintained that Gibraltar is too small to accommodate such vessels with the potential risk these pose to the safety of our community.
    • ON BATHING QUALITY DATA – August is a month where temperatures soar and many go on vacation. Those that don’t need to cool down, and this happens at our beaches, which are fuller than ever before due to chronic border delays, and many disinclined to visit Spanish beaches.

    The ESG is concerned that there have been large gaps on the environmental agency website on bathing water quality, down, we are told, to the GHA public analyst being away for the whole month on vacation. That although alternate labs are being used in Spain there is additional delay in turning results around.

    There were assurances given by Government at the start of the summer that frequency of sampling would be strictly followed to allow beaches like Western, that can suddenly become very polluted, to remain open. However a visit to the website recently showed a 12 day gap in data, and this during the hottest time of the year. This is simply not good enough and the ESG calls upon Government to rectify this situation without delay.

    • The ESG notes that the new Bathing Pavilion is also now being monitored for water quality. Sampling is being done to check on bacterial contamination such as Total Coliforms, E.Coli and Fecal Streptococci (all sewage contaminants) as is done for all beaches. The group would like to see other contaminants, such as hydrocarbon, monitored in these waters, given the close proximity to industrial activity such as refueling carried out at nearby jetties.


      • NORTH GORGE and other PLANS – The ESG is also concerned about the numerous developments occurring in Gibraltar today. We have been here before:  An escalation of new and proposed developments throughout our small footprint, at the same time, posing significant and accumulative impacts on everyone’s quality of life and the environment. This also stretches supporting services and various human resources. The ESG advocates measured and sustained development carried out in a manner that allows for a good quality of life and where every new development is paced and given the necessary time and consideration. The DPC agenda this week contains several transformational projects such as Mid Town Development, Western Reclamation and North Mole Reclamation. All raise significant issue which need to be very carefully reviewed.
    • We support the call by the GONHS to ensure that the protection and safeguarding of the biodiversity and geology in the site of the North Gorge is prioritised in all proposals coming forward for development in this area. The ESG believes the North Gorge provides a green buffer zone in an area that is seeing major urban spread. It would recommend that it be cleaned up and landscaped with extensive replanting of endemic plant species. The North Gorge could provide a natural park amenity for the community in the south area and a necessary breathing space amidst the growing urbanisation.

    Clean up the World 2014- Finally, a reminder that the main Clean up the World planning meeting will take place on Friday 29th August at 6pm. Location is the Main Guard, Gibraltar Heritage Trust, which is at John Mackintosh Square


    ESG react to Green MEP visit to the Rock 21/08/14

    ESG and Green MEP visit to the Rock

     The ESG regrets the missed opportunity of meeting with SW’s first Green MEP, Molly-Scott Cato, who now also represents Gibraltar in Brussels, on her recent visit here.

    In a climate where most MEPs can enjoy meeting directly with Government, something that was not the case in the past, the ESG reiterates the need for all MEPs to include meetings with important stakeholders such as NGOs, actively taking on issues at European Commission level.

    We intend to make direct contact with Ms Molly-Scott Cato and will draw her attention to the sustained campaigns run by the ESG in Brussels, hoping to enlist her support. This is crucial to maintain the efforts by her predecessors, Conservative Neil Parish, and later, Liberal MEP Sir Graham Watson, who have recognised and supported our work with considerable time and use of their resources.

    We will brief her on the facts that since 2002, the ESG, assisted by local law firm, Hassan’s International, has had official complaints lodged with the EC against serious breaches of environmental legislation by multinational petrochemical plants in San Roque, given its size and scale of operation affecting the entire bay, population and living environment. The group has repeatedly flagged numerous incidences of a regional, cross border, environmental nature, progress on which is impeded by long-term political troubles.

    Over the years our group has been instrumental, via public and behind the scenes campaigns, in seeing through fundamental improvements at the Oil Refinery as a result of using EU pressure, cross border campaigns and gathering of scientific data. It is still necessary for the ESG to highlight particular episodes of heavy contamination to the EC as they occur, as well as periodically check that ongoing improvements are indeed happening to bring the plant up to modern environmental standards, as it is realistically impossible to shut down this monster.

    That is one example of the need for our MEPs to be fully briefed by us on our long-term work and aims. Secondly, our Western Beach complaint fronted by Sir Graham Watson is also far from over. We have organised protests and met with several MEPs on this issue, as it is not only a matter of inconvenience that La Linea is dumping raw sewage right next to our public spaces and nearby local residential area, but also a matter of public health concern. Spain has repeatedly lied to the EC about this problem being over. Data gathered by local environmental agency demonstrates this contamination outside of the bathing season to be pretty much a constant with illegal levels persistently recorded.

    Many files with anecdotal information and data have been submitted to all MEPs over the years and it is through this pressure that the EC, at least, is claiming to be looking at the issue. It has not taken legal action or instructed Spain to act on this within a deadline. There certainly has been no inspection to verify what the ESG has been consistently telling the EC.

    It is important therefore that the Green MEP informs herself of these issues also so that she can support our work in Brussels. Another area where we are active is in highlighting major environmental developments to the EC by Spain, for example, the giant fuel tank farm with no cross border environmental study or notification taking place. Another example is where Spain was recording dangerous levels of nickel in the bay area caused by heavy industry. Even though EU legislation is frighteningly slow, pressure must be maintained by NGOs, and support must come from every sector of society, including government and MEPS.

    The MEP expressed interest in marine conservation and we will highlight how the heavy industry in the bay has, for years, dumped large volumes of toxic waste into the bay waters causing toxic contamination to build up in the area. The rampant urbanisation and large-scale reclamation, wherever it occurs, must also come under the microscope regarding its clear impacts on marine conservation.

    Finally, and most importantly, we will definitely share with her, as our MEP, bay wide concerns about the mortality rates in the area that are much higher than elsewhere in the Iberian peninsula. There are numerous studies that show a correlation between industrial emissions and health impacts and European citizens living on each side of the border are deeply concerned that we are falling foul from these toxic emissions.

    The group would also like an opportunity to share its views on the concerns raised by the Green MEP when in Gibraltar and give our independent views as an apolitical, grassroots, environmental NGO.

    ESG Committee